Publications by Felix Parra Diaz


Collisionality scaling of the electron heat flux in ETG turbulence

Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion IOP Publishing: Hybrid Open Access (0)

GJ Colyer, AA Schekochihin, FI Parra, CM Roach, MA Barnes, Y-C Ghim, W Dorland

In electrostatic simulations of MAST plasma at electron-gyroradius scales, using the local flux-tube gyrokinetic code GS2 with adiabatic ions, we find that the long-time saturated electron heat flux (the level most relevant to energy transport) decreases as the electron collisionality decreases. At early simulation times, the heat flux "quasi-saturates" without any strong dependence on collisionality, and with the turbulence dominated by streamer-like radially elongated structures. However, the zonal fluctuation component continues to grow slowly until much later times, eventually leading to a new saturated state dominated by zonal modes and with the heat flux proportional to the collision rate, in approximate agreement with the experimentally observed collisionality scaling of the energy confinement in MAST. We outline an explanation of this effect based on a model of ETG turbulence dominated by zonal-nonzonal interactions and on an analytically derived scaling of the zonal-mode damping rate with the electron-ion collisionality. Improved energy confinement with decreasing collisionality is favourable towards the performance of future, hotter devices.


Radially global $δf$ computation of neoclassical phenomena in a tokamak pedestal

ArXiv (0)

M Landreman, FI Parra, PJ Catto, DR Ernst, I Pusztai

Conventional radially-local neoclassical calculations become inadequate if the radial gradient scale lengths of the H-mode pedestal become as small as the poloidal ion gyroradius. Here, we describe a radially global $\delta f$ continuum code that generalizes neoclassical calculations to allow stronger gradients. As with conventional neoclassical calculations, the formulation is time-independent and requires only the solution of a single sparse linear system. We demonstrate precise agreement with an asymptotic analytic solution of the radially global kinetic equation in the appropriate limits of aspect ratio and collisionality. This agreement depends crucially on accurate treatment of finite orbit width effects.


Experimental Signatures of Critically Balanced Turbulence in MAST

ArXiv (0)

Y-C Ghim, AA Schekochihin, AR Field, IG Abel, M Barnes, G Colyer, SC Cowley, FI Parra, D Dunai, S Zoletnik, TMAST Team

Beam Emission Spectroscopy (BES) measurements of ion-scale density fluctuations in the MAST tokamak are used to show that the turbulence correlation time, the drift time associated with ion temperature or density gradients, the particle (ion) streaming time along the magnetic field and the magnetic drift time are consistently comparable, suggesting a "critically balanced" turbulence determined by the local equilibrium. The resulting scalings of the poloidal and radial correlation lengths are derived and tested. The nonlinear time inferred from the density fluctuations is longer than the other times; its ratio to the correlation time scales as $\nu_{*i}^{-0.8\pm0.1}$, where $\nu_{*i}=$ ion collision rate/streaming rate. This is consistent with turbulent decorrelation being controlled by a zonal component, invisible to the BES, with an amplitude exceeding the drift waves' by $\sim \nu_{*i}^{-0.8}$.


Intrinsic rotation with gyrokinetic models

ArXiv (0)

FI Parra, M Barnes, I Calvo, PJ Catto

The generation of intrinsic rotation by turbulence and neoclassical effects in tokamaks is considered. To obtain the complex dependences observed in experiments, it is necessary to have a model of the radial flux of momentum that redistributes the momentum within the tokamak in the absence of a preexisting velocity. When the lowest order gyrokinetic formulation is used, a symmetry of the model precludes this possibility, making small effects in the gyroradius over scale length expansion necessary. These effects that are usually small become important for momentum transport because the symmetry of the lowest order gyrokinetic formulation leads to the cancellation of the lowest order momentum flux. The accuracy to which the gyrokinetic equation needs to be obtained to retain all the physically relevant effects is discussed.


Transport Bifurcation Induced by Sheared Toroidal Flow in Tokamak Plasmas

ArXiv (0)

EG Highcock, M Barnes, FI Parra, AA Schekochihin, CM Roach, SC Cowley

First-principles numerical simulations are used to describe a transport bifurcation in a differentially rotating tokamak plasma. Such a bifurcation is more probable in a region of zero magnetic shear than one of finite magnetic shear because in the former case the component of the sheared toroidal flow that is perpendicular to the magnetic field has the strongest suppressing effect on the turbulence. In the zero-magnetic-shear regime, there are no growing linear eigenmodes at any finite value of flow shear. However, subcritical turbulence can be sustained, owing to the transient growth of modes driven by the ion temperature gradient (ITG) and the parallel velocity gradient (PVG). Nonetheless, in a parameter space containing a wide range of temperature gradients and velocity shears, there is a sizeable window where all turbulence is suppressed. Combined with the relatively low transport of momentum by collisional (neoclassical) mechanisms, this produces the conditions for a bifurcation from low to high temperature and velocity gradients. The path of this bifurcation is mapped out using interpolation from a large number of simulations. Numerical simulations are also used to construct a parametric model which accurately describes the combined effect of the temperature gradient and the flow gradient over a wide range of their values. Using this parametric model, it is shown that in this reduced-transport state, heat is transported almost neoclassically, while momentum transport is dominated by subcritical PVG turbulence. It is further shown that for any given input of torque, there is an optimum input of heat which maximises the temperature gradient. The parametric model describes both the behaviour of the subcritical turbulence and the complicated effect of the flow shear on the transport stiffness. It may prove useful for transport modelling of tokamaks with sheared flows.

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